Holmes has high hopes in Canberra

New Brumbies scrum-half Josh Holmes, a former Australian Under-19 and U21 star, believes that his move to the Canberra-based Super 14 franchise is perfect for his development as a player.

The two-time Super Rugby champions have produced a number of world-class players in the past, with six Brumbies backs having represented the Wallabies at the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

And Holmes, who has moved from Sydney to Canberra, is hoping to emulate the likes of Stephen Hoiles (number eight) and Mark Gerrard (wing) in gaining international honours with the Brumbies after a move from the Waratahs.

“Definitely with [George] Gregan going, and then you look at people who come down here and how well they go,” Holmes told the AAP, acknowledging that the success rate of Brumbies players was indeed a factor in his move south for the 2008 season.

“Just with the facilities down here and how people have gone on to higher honours,” he added.

And Holmes – who impressed with the few chances that he had with the Waratahs in the 2007 Super 14 – makes no secret of his desire to fill that Wallaby number nine jersey now that George Gregan has finally called it a day.

“I want to have a really good pre-season and then try to get the number nine jersey here and play as much Super 14 as I can this year,” he said.

“The Test spot is definitely open and there are a lot of guys who are keen to fill the role.”

Aside from the possibility of inside centre Matt Giteau taking over the number nine slot from Gregan, Reds veteran Sam Cordingley (a World Cup squad member), Force scrum-half Matt Henjak and Waratahs scrum-halves Josh Valentine and Brett Sheehan will all provide stiff competition.

“I think whoever has a good [2008] Super 14 season will definitely go a long way to getting that number nine jersey with the Wallabies,” opined the 20-year-old, who started two matches for the ‘Tahs this past season, with Brett Sheehan and Josh Valentine ahead of him in the pecking order.

“I felt that if I stayed in NSW [New South Wales] I would have been up against the same guys I was last season and I was ranked number three behind them [Valentine and Sheehan] until injuries so I thought I might have been behind them again, so I decided to try my luck somewhere else.”

While he has his eyes set on the Wallaby jersey, Holmes – already an Australia ‘A’ representative, – is aware that things are by no means cut and dried at the Brumbies, with 26-year-old Patrick Phibbs, Gregan’s second in command since 2005, also keen to impress.

“He’s [Phibbs] a good player, he’s strong and he’s an aggressive guy, but he’s a good bloke and I’ve got along really well with him since I’ve been here, he’s been really good,” concluded Holmes.

 

365 Digital

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